Could someone please explain to me why Dewon Brazelton is back on the team?
NEWSFLASH TO DEVIL RAYS MANAGEMENT: BRAZELTON IS NOT A GOOD PITCHER AND ISN'T GOING TO SUDDENLY TURN INTO ONE.
This is ridiculous, they just don't get it. They continue to act like Brazelton has some sort of weird block that prevents him from doing well in the majors and if they can just get him past that he'll start succeeding. He doesn't, he just isn't any good. He has NEVER pitched well professionally, at any level. This isn't a mental block, this isn't a maturity problem, this is a baseball player that just isn't good.
Brazelton walks too many hitters and doesn't strike out very many. Nothing more than that, that's what makes him lousy. He has never shown promise of changing that either, at any level. He's the same pitcher in the majors as he has been in the minors, it just gets exposed more in the majors.
Anyone still clinging to Brazelton's draft position, hype, money invested in him, or scouting reports raving about his changeup and believing that he is suddenly going to do well is kidding themselves. They were kidding themselves before the season even started if they thought he'd stay in the rotation all year long.
Brazelton may do ok in the pen if he's a long reliever, though by ok I mean an ERA around 4.50-4.75, soaking up innings when the starter has to leave early. Unfortunately the Rays are apparently going to use him as a setup man. A setup man! Lou Piniella wants to find someone to pitch the eighth so he doesn't have to bring in Baez to pitch the ninth. How the hell is Brazelton supposed to help with that? He allows a lot of baserunners, Baez will be coming in during the eighth even more to get out of jams. The other important job of the setup man is to come in and relieve another pitcher when he gets into a jam. You're going to use Brazelton for that? You want a guy that can't strike hitters out and walks a lot to come in with men on base?
All I've talked about so far is performance. What kind of message does this send to the rest of the team? You can disappear for weeks with no explanation and we'll take some money but let you come back quickly? I don't care if you have bullpen problems, you don't give in and let Brazelton off easy. You keep his butt at Double-A all season and make him EARN his way back to the majors, which by the way is something Brazelton has never had to do in the first place.
What makes this even worse is that Lee Gardner was sent down to make room for Brazelton. He pitched seven innings. SEVEN! What can you tell about how well he'd do over the season from seven freaking innings? You're replacing a guy who could very well be an effective reliever with someone that has never been an effective pitcher? Why not DL Harper, I'm sure something can be made up for that. Or just do the smart thing (yeah, I know, wishful thinking) and send Waechter to Triple-A to pitch as a starter and replace him with Brazelton. That way you don't have a guy that might be a useful starter in the future getting sporadic time in relief and you don't send down a potentially effective pitcher.
This was a completely ridiculous move on so many levels. I'm furious about this but you know what? Nobody outside the internet community is going to care much. The local media won't understand why it's bad and even if one of them figures it out they won't say anything about it, like always.